Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Saga of the IKEA Dishes

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, FoxyJ and I discovered that IKEA carries inexpensive, colorful plastic dishes for kids. Our kids loved them because they're fun, and we loved them because they're indestructible. Sometimes S-Boogie and Little Dude would fight over who gets what color, but eventually that got old and now they pretty much don't care what color they get.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Clark and his then-wife Lana did their own experimenting with multi-colored children's dishes and in their case, the constant fighting over who gets "pinkie-doo" and who gets blue was simply too much. Clark and Lana banned multi-colored children's dishes from their home forever.

Who knew such aesthetically-pleasing dishes could cause so much trouble?
So when I got divorced, I bought my own set of IKEA dishes so my kids would feel at home in my house, and when Clark got divorced he continued the practice of using regular dishes for his kids. (Actually, he uses paper plates more often than not, which makes the environmentalist in me want to go chain myself to a tree, but I make a point of not saying anything because it's not my place to demand that others live according to my value system. In other words, I don't want to be a nag.)

Our different approaches to serving children's meals became apparent while we were dating, but it didn't become an issue until we moved in together. While unpacking, the question of where to put the IKEA dishes came up. I didn't care where exactly they went, but I wanted them low enough that kids could access them--to encourage self-sufficiency. Once Clark realized how little drawer and cupboard space there was, he became frustrated that we had to dedicate part of that precious space to dishes that he foresaw creating nothing but trouble. It annoyed me that he was so upset about me wanting to use the dishes for my kids--I wasn't insisting that he use them for his kids. At the same time, I understood that so long as the dishes are in the house, he'll have to deal with his kids wanting to use them, then fighting over the different colors. After a tense exchange, Clark said, "Put them wherever you want. I don't care." (In case you have never interacted with an actual human being, "I don't care" in this case didn't actually mean that he didn't care.)

Ultimately, I decided to put the dishes on a low shelf in the pantry. This kept the drawers and cupboards free for less controversial kitchenware, and met my requirement of allowing kids to get their own dishes. Clark seemed okay with the solution, but still I cringed every time I heard his kids fighting over the "pinkie-doo" bowl.

Then, this afternoon Clark came home from IKEA with two new sets of plates, bowls, and cups. He laughed and told me that he'd cursed IKEA when he saw that they had new designs, because that will just give the kids something else to fight about. I'm tempted to joke here about how I won this battle, but I don't want to turn this into a win-lose situation, even jokingly. In reality, Clark did not lose--he recognized that having these dishes for my kids is important to me, and found a way to make it less of a problem for him and his kids. And if I have to go buy two more sets of dishes so that each of his kids can have their own "pinkie-doo" bowl, I will. Because that's how we roll in the Kent-Fob home.

At least we don't have multi-colored power rings to fight over.


  1. Yes, clear solution is to buy enough sets of dishes that everyone can have the color they want. :)

  2. It is great to have the kind of problems that money can fix. :) I still remember fighting over the brown plate! Why did it matter SO much?

  3. Yes, especially the kind of problems that just a couple of dollars can fix. :) The bonus side effect of this solution is that we don't run out of dishes after one meal.